As expected, Narva City Council on Monday elected Aleksei Jevgrafov mayor of Narva at an extraordinary meeting.
Mr Jevgrafov, 39, was nominated by the majority Hometown Narva group; the opposition did not nominate its own candidate. Mr Jevgrafov, who previously served as deputy mayor, received 22 of 31 votes, reported ERR's Russian-language news portal and ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera.
The city's previous mayor, Centre Party member Tarmo Tammiste, was removed from office by a vote of no confidence in the city council on 15 March. Since then, Mr Jevgrafov, an independent, had served as acting mayor.
The city's new mayor had served as deputy mayor of Narva since autumn 2017. He is considered an expert in urban economics, as a result of which positive changes are expected in this field in particular.
Mr Jevgrafov has promised to increase officials' salaries as well as revitalise the work of the committee in charge of the city's bid for European Capital of Culture in 2024.
Speaking to ERR's Jüri Nikolajev, the new mayor said that he wants to make changes to the way the city government works.
"First of all we have to increase salaries, because right now our pay is so low that it is very difficult to find people, specialists in particular, for these positions, and we will review the structure as well," Mr Jevgrafov said. "But as my first step, likely this week, I will be forming a committee for [Narva's] bid for Capital of Culture again. We are talking to candidates right now, and we will probably do this even as soon as the day after tomorrow. We have to preserve the massive amount of work that was done last year, and we definitely have to contribute to continuing this work."
Long time coming
The replacement of the mayor of Estonia's third-largest city by population can trace its roots back to early last autumn, when a string of Narva City Council members belonging to the Centre Party were suspected of corruption, following which Centre decided to throw the individuals in question out of the party.
The cast out members took other local Centrists with them and formed a new political group, Hometown Narva, which controls an absolute majority of 21 of 31 city council seats. The new group was headed by Aleksei Voronov, but the latter was in late March arrested as a suspect in corruption and taken into custody for a period of two months. Mr Voronov resigned from city council in early April.
Following the formation of the new political group, Mr Tammiste remained in the Centre Party and in office as mayor of Narva. He ran for election to the Riigikogu in the 3 March general election, but was not elected. As he refused to resign as mayor himself, Hometown Narva decided to initiate a motion of no confidence against him.
Editor: Aili Vahtla